Back in late 2007 I had four children, had been out of the paid workforce for almost eight years and had just started reading blogs. We were not yet certain if we would or could have another baby and I felt I needed to do something to update my skill set.
Also at this time it was a regular occurrence for friends to ask me to send them recipes or the spreadsheets I created, so the idea of starting a blog to share my stuff started to creep into my head. I am a rather private person, so felt hesitant about putting too much of myself out there. It took me until the new year (2008) to finally take the leap and start blogging. At first I didn’t even publish my name, but was just “Planning Queen”.
I instantly loved blogging. Like lots of bloggers I started off using Blogger as my blogging platform. But within a month realised I needed to move to self hosted wordpress as I knew I was going to stick at it. My intention with blogging at that time was not for it to become my “work”. I wanted new stimulation, I wanted to learn new skills and Web 2.0 seemed like a great place to start.
Three and a half years later I still love blogging and it is indeed my work, along with being an author and a blog coach. None of these things were on my radar those years ago when I started blogging.
The best thing for me is that I am able to earn a part time income, doing something I love and I can fit it in around my family’s needs. That does however mean:
- I watch no TV as I blog at night.
- I often go to bed way too late.
- I always have a too do list a mile long, as I have more ideas than I do time.
- I have an incredibly supportive husband who works hard at home as well.
- I have received amazing opportunities from blogging both for me personally and experiences for the family too.
But in the not to distant future:
- I will have more time in the day to work, leaving me more time to relax in the evenings.
- I will cross off some of the things on my to do list.
- I will still have incredibly flexible work hours to fit around my family.
- I will be able to work on projects that require more time.
What to do next?
I receive many emails from women who are at that point I was back in late 2007. They are wanting to do something; it might be returning to work, it might be returning to study, it might be acting on an idea for a business that they have been thinking about for ages or some are even thinking about giving blogging a go! The common thread in the emails is they are all really looking for encouragement. For someone to say – “Go and do it!”
When I respond to the emails, I can ever say “you should do x” because I don’t know the whole story and it isn’t for me to make that decision. But what I do offer is encouragement. I remember how it feels to put myself out there for the first time, wondering if anyone would ever read my blog (other than family and friends!). It is scary. “What if it turns out to be a dud? What will people think? Will I have wasted my time?” were all things that went through my head.
My advice is to go with your instincts – if you think this is right for you and your family, then give it a go. Well before the blog grew to where it is now, the increased self confidence I received from trying something new, learning new skills, discovering a whole new online world had such a positive impact on my life.
I found I had so much more to say when out in “non kid” scenarios. I would seek out others who were working in some way online and ask questions and listen to their adventures. Even though Planning With Kids was a blog about kids, it was a great “non kid” activity for me and it was just what I needed at that time.
Resources to help and support you
I thought I would list some resources to help those of you who are contemplating “What to do next?”. There is no one right path and sometimes it takes more than one shot to work out which path is the right one for you.
The Mumpreneur Diaries are an event for mums who are considering starting their own business AND for mums who already have! Events are held across Australia.
Next month, along with ME, Antonette Golikidis (creator and Director of Little Innoscents – the fastest growing exclusive babycare brand on the Australian market) will speak about our Mumpreneur journey.
Date: Thursday 20 Oct 2011
Time: 9:30am – 11:30am
Venue: Where a Girl Goes Cafe, Cnr Langridge & Oxford St, Collingwood
Tickets: $55 per person ($45 if you purchase in September)
More info: Working Mums Masterclass
Returning to the workforce
At the start of the year Kate from Priorities wrote a guest post answering the 10 Frequently Asked Questions about returning to work.
Priorities was the first recruitment and training organisation to specialise solely in part-time and flexible job creation in Melbourne. Their services include recruitment (part time and flexible vacancies), consulting to businesses on how to cater for part time and flexible work practices and training for candidates on work readiness and computer skills. They even have a job board which you can register for. You can check it our here. It regularly lists those dream jobs for mums of school kids – work hours between 10am – 3pm!
There is so much info out there on how to get started on blogging! One of the services I offer with Blog Coaching Boost is setting up blogs and associated social media. But there are many free online resources you can read to get you going.
First stop is always Problogger who is a local Melbourne bloggging guru. Spend some time trawling through his archives and you find fab info. He also has an e-book for those starting up blogging – ProBlogger’s Guide to your First Week of Blogging ($19.99).
Alli from Motivating Mum aims to help mums starting out with their own businesses. Alli offers Small business support, Business networking and a Business Mums Forum.
To see what events are on near you, check out the current events page on the website. For example, next week not too far from me in Forest Hill, is the regular meeting of the one of the Businessmums’ Clubs. It meets the second Tuesday of every month in Forest Hill, mid-morning, and offers members networking opportunities, referrals, a chance to introduce your business to the group, a brainstorm session etc. Events are held across Melbourne and Sydney.
If you have other resources that help mums who are looking for “What to do next?” feel free to leave them in the comments.
Are you looking for what to do next?